The Intercept has got hold of a set of Harris's super-secretive manuals for their even-more-secret Stingray devices: fake cellular towers used to spy indiscriminately on whole populations by hacking their cellphones into giving up identifying information and more.
Harris has fought every attempt at transparency in the technical details of these widely deployed mass surveillance tools, arguing that crooks and terrorists would benefit from any disclosures. However, Stingrays are widely used against petty criminals like marijuana growers, and have never been cited in any anti-terrorist operation.
The manuals reveal that Harris's products are remarkably easy to use, thanks, in part to the absence of any checks against the abusive or illegal deployment of mass spying tools.
A video of the Gemini software installed on a personal computer, obtained by The Intercept and embedded below, provides not only an extensive demonstration of the app but also underlines how accessible the mass surveillance code can be: Installing a complete warrantless surveillance suite is no more complicated than installing Skype. Indeed, software such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office, which require a registration key or some other proof of ownership, are more strictly controlled by their makers than software designed for cellular interception.
“While this device is being discussed in the context of US law enforcement,” said Tynan, “this could be used by foreign agents against the US public and administration. It is no longer acceptable for our phones and mobile networks to be exploited in such an invasive and indiscriminate way.”
LONG-SECRET STINGRAY MANUALS DETAIL HOW POLICE CAN SPY ON PHONES [Sam Biddle/The Intercept]
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